Second Use

February 18, 2017

Happy Sabbath! We are enjoying a quiet, rainy day here in Tacoma.

Progress on the farm seems to be slow… there are so many questions that are constantly popping up, and they all seem to depend on answers we don’t yet have. The farmhouse is originally a two bed, one bath home – so, tiny! We’ve been working on drawing up plans for several months now (many, many versions of plans) that add several more bedrooms and bathrooms to make it more of a family home. We are fine with the rooms being small – that’s part of what we like about the original home. But the additions we want need approval from an engineer because they would significantly change the layout and weight of the home.

Aaron scheduled a meeting with an engineer in Lakewood for yesterday morning. We asked Aaron’s dad, Dave, and my mom to come up to be at the meeting with us, as both of them have a lot of experience in different areas of home building and design. We couldn’t believe it when Dave called us on Thursday night and said there was a huge landslide on I-5 and he would be delayed by several hours. He waited, and waited, and waited in traffic to get off of the freeway and try to find another way around… and after many hours finally decided to turn back home. We were disappointed that he couldn’t make it up, but understood that it didn’t make sense for him to keep pushing north when there were so many delays. Then we got another phone call about an hour later – Dave was in a car accident that totaled his car! We felt so badly that this happened, especially as he was making such an effort to come help us at the appointment. Thankfully, Dave is ok and doesn’t have any physical injuries from the crash, even though it shattered his windshield and deployed his airbag!

The three of us – Aaron, my mom, and I – met with the engineer yesterday morning to talk about the options for the house. It was a helpful appointment, but like the ones before, left us with more questions than answers! There are all sorts of things we have to consider now – if you change more than 50% of a house in WA, you have to update the whole house to current standards/codes. Of course we want the house to be safe – but that means a lot of things, like changing the staircase to be a bit wider on each step and less steep… something that could cost several thousand dollars with moving walls, etc. to accommodate the new  set-up. As Aaron says, “it’s one of those spiraling things…” Each change leads to more changes we have to make!

So our next steps mean that we need to assess for several things before deciding what changes to make on the house. Even though the original foundation to the house is in solid condition, we would have to supplement it to do the additions we hope for. This means having a crew come in and lift the house, pour additional concrete foundation around the post and pier, and then set the house back down. This is an expensive process, and can run between $10,000 – $20,000! So we need a quote on exactly what that would cost. We also need to have someone come out to assess the septic to see if we need to replace that with the new bedroom additions, and we need someone to check our spring water to see if it’s usable as is or if we’ll need to dig a well.

In the meantime, we are enjoying driving out each weekend to check on things… a few weeks ago, we planted several hundred daffodil bulbs that my dad gave us. It will be fun to see those spring up sometime soon. One of my students who knows we are working on the farm suggested we visit a store in Seattle called “Second Use Building Supplies” – we went last weekend and had so much fun! We will have. definitely be checking back regularly to see what they have. Some of the things that caught our eye were:

  • Fir flooring that would match the original fir floors in the farm
  • An old Crane sink – similar to the original one at the farm – for a hefty price! Makes us sure we want to clean ours up and use it!
  • An old, 42-inch front door salvaged from a 1906 Capitol Hill house in Seattle
  • Several multi-faucet trough sinks
  • A clawfoot tub
  • A gorgeous Viking range – it had already sold when we saw it, and had three “waitlist” tags on it!

The best news is that they just put a Second Use store in Tacoma – just a few miles away! So we’ll be checking in there regularly as well. I’m realizing that I’m kind of a “bargain bragger…” If someone likes something I paid full price for, I usually respond with a quiet “thank you.” But if someone compliments something I got a great deal on, it’s like “THANKS!!! You’ll never guess how much I paid for this?! It was such an amazing deal!!! Let me tell you about it!!!” I’m looking forward to what will be the most fun of this whole process for me – finding great deals on home things that I love! 🙂

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  • Reply Greta February 19, 2017 at 3:26 am

    I LOVE hearing about your amazing deals! You have a gift for finding deals!!!!

  • Reply pam February 19, 2017 at 7:18 am

    Love the term “bargain bragger.” Thanks for the newsy update.

  • Reply Barbara March 9, 2017 at 4:13 pm

    This is so fun to read about! I’m eagerly watching for updates.

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